Archive | Art

LAURA BENANTI – At the Venetian Room, One Night Only, 5/12

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

Bay Area Cabaret closes its 2011-2012 season with Tony Award winning actress/singer Laura Benanti at the Venetian Room, Saturday, May 12th at 8:00 pm. Also her San Francisco cabaret debut, Benanti’s show showcases her wide musical and comedic repertoire. Opening the evening and making his Bay Area Cabaret debut is the 2011 Bay Area Teen Idol winner Robert Conte Thornton. Click here to order tickets on-line:Bay Area Cabaret

Laura Benanti

Laura Benanti

Called “glorious” by the New York Times and “exquisite” by the New York Daily News, Benanti’s performance showcases her extensive repertoire, swinging from Sondheim and other Broadway standards to Bob Dylan and Vanilla Ice (among others).  In 2008, Benanti took the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her role as “Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee” in the Broadway revival of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone as “Mama Rose.” Other Broadway credits include Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Tony and Drama League nominations), Into The Woods (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and LA Ovation nominations), Nine (opposite Antonio Banderas, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations) and Swing! (Tony nomination). Ms. Benanti has appeared in film, TV, and numerous concerts around the country. Bay Area fans saw her last summer in an all-Gershwin concert with the San Francisco Symphony. She recently appeared and received rave reviews for her recent performances at Feinstein’s and Lincoln Center in New York.  She is next set to star in the NBC TV pilot Go On, opposite Matthew Perry.

Laura Benanti sings “I Know Things Now” from INTO THE WOODS

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SFMOMA Receives $375,000 from the Getty Foundation to establish comprehensive web resource for study of Robert Rauschenberg

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has been awarded a $375,000 grant from the Getty Foundation for the implementation of its first online collection catalogue, featuring works by Robert Rauschenberg in the museum’s permanent collection. The grant supports further work on the Rauschenberg Research Project, the digital publication SFMOMA is developing for the Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI), an effort dedicated to bringing museum collection catalogues into the digital age. Scheduled for launch in mid-2013, SFMOMA’s catalogue promises to be the largest and most comprehensive repository of Rauschenberg research available online, and will serve as a vital and highly accessible resource for the field.

Robert Rauschenberg. Collection, 1954–55. Oil, paper, fabric, wood, and metal on canvas

Robert Rauschenberg. Collection, 1954–55. Oil, paper, fabric, wood, and metal on canvas

“We are very grateful to the Getty Foundation for their generous support of SFMOMA’s Rauschenberg Research Project,” says Sarah Roberts, SFMOMA associate curator of collections and research. “Our online Rauschenberg catalogue will serve as a testing ground for the museum’s ambitious digital publishing objectives and will have global reach, both as a resource for future scholarship and as a dynamic, new model for museum collection catalogues in the digital era.”

While printed versions of scholarly collection catalogues have long been a critical part of museum publishing programs and a key resource for researchers, their high production costs and small print runs have hindered accessibility and made revised editions extremely difficult to realize. The OSCI project aims to transform how museums disseminate scholarly information about their collections, exploring the potential for catalogues to be more current, interactive, and widely available in an online environment. Three years ago, the Getty Foundation invited nine institutions, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, to work together to investigate this new frontier in scholarly publishing with the support of planning grants. SFMOMA received $240,000 to participate in the planning stage and now has been awarded $375,000 to bring its online catalogue to completion.

SFMOMA’s publication will present a seamless blend of rigorous scholarship and multimedia resources, encompassing nearly 90 Rauschenberg sculptures, paintings, works on paper, photographs, and “combines” (hybrid works of painting and sculpture). The catalogue will bring together existing materials drawn from the archives of SFMOMA and other institutions, as well as new content from ongoing research initiatives, such as visual documentation done with highly specialized technology (e.g., infrared or custom digital processing) that capture the exceptionally nuanced imagery of the artist’s works.

The publication will include 20 essays dedicated to individual artworks or series; bibliographies, provenance, exhibition histories, and conservation research for all objects; as well as artist interviews, interactive educational features, comparative images, and links to related resources. SFMOMA has commissioned leading experts on Rauschenberg as authors for the catalogue, including:

· Nicholas Cullinan, curator of international modern art at Tate Modern, who has written a book on the artist’s photographs
· Susan Davidson, senior curator of collections and exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, who sits on the board of the Rauschenberg Foundation and has produced numerous exhibitions and publications on the artist, including the 1997–98 retrospective that she organized with Walter Hopps
· Roni Feinstein, who produced a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s silkscreen paintings for the 1991 Whitney Museum exhibition
· And many others who have researched, written, or organized exhibitions on Rauschenberg

In addition to presenting deeper and richer content, the online catalogue will employ various technological solutions stemming from the OSCI project. New systems for documentation and digital publishing are redefining how information related to the collection is generated, collected, and published. These processes will allow for the publication to be integrated into a variety of digital platforms, and established templates will easily accommodate future research projects around other areas of modern and contemporary art. Ultimately, the Getty Foundation grant will make possible a new model for collection publishing that will disseminate scholarly material in innovative and accessible ways.

Technology at SFMOMA

The development of the online catalogue furthers SFMOMA’s commitment to online culture and technological advancement, and to fostering meaningful dialogue with audiences. Reflecting the Bay Area’s renown for pioneering new technologies and ways of thinking, SFMOMA is widely acknowledged as a leader among museums worldwide for using technology to engage visitors, both onsite and online, through such projects as its award-winning website, innovative podcasts, multimedia gallery tours, and more recent mobile apps. SFMOMA has consistently forged new models of museum education by developing in-house expertise in rich-media tools that enhance public understanding of modern and contemporary art.
Click here for additional information: “>Getty Foundation

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Rita Moreno to Host Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s ONSTAGE Gala

By Bethany Rickwald, TheaterMania
Award-winning actress Rita Moreno will host Berkeley Rep‘s ONSTAGE Gala, beginning at 5:30pm on April 28 at the Four Seasons San Francisco.

The evening will feature a gourmet dinner prepared by Mark Richardson, wines and spirits, and bidding led by Fritz Hatton on getaways and culinary adventures.

The honorary committee for the event includes Gerson and Barbara Bakar, Rena Bransten, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Maria Carson, Narsai and Venus David, State Senator Loni Hancock and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown, Doug Housley, David Henry Hwang, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, Michael Mayer, Mandy Patinkin, State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Garen and Shari Staglin, and Michael Tilson Thomas and Joshua Robison.

Moreno won an Academy Award for West Side Story and received a Tony Award for her performance inThe Ritz. She has also won two Emmys for her work on The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files. Her performance on The Electric Company Album earned her the Grammy Award in 1972.

For more information and tickets to Berkeley Rep’s ONSTAGE Gala, click here.

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THE TOM JUDSON SHOW – Coming to New Conservatory Theatre Center May 2nd

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the San Francisco Premiere of The Tom Judson Show by Tom Judson. The show will run at 8:00 Wednesdays through Saturdays from May 2–12. All performances will take place at The New Conservatory Theatre Center (Walker Theatre), located at 25 Van Ness Avenue, near Market Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $28–$41 each, and are available at the NCTC Box Office (415) 861-8972, or online at: NCTC.org.

TOM JUDSON

TOM JUDSON

Tom Judson has performed his new cabaret show on both coasts. It was standing room only for a recent gig at The Metropolitan Room in New York City. This leg of The Tom Judson Show has been retooled specifically for the New Conservatory Theatre Center and will include a program of songs to celebrate spring. Getting back to his musician roots, Tom’s new show is reminiscent of the sparkling entertainments that were once found at every smart supper club in Manhattan. Utilizing the skills that landed him on Broadway, Tom croons at the piano in a vintage tuxedo and sings an eclectic selection of songs ranging from well-known standards to some surprising obscure gems. With material ranging from Harold Arlen to Alan Cumming to Victor Herbert, Tom peppers the musical selections with anecdotes and stories about some of the celebrities he’s crossed paths with during his career. Directed by Michael Schiralli, The Tom Judson Show is an evening of song and story so entrancing that Michael Musto writing in the Village Voice insisted, “Let’s get this man a show at the Carlyle or the Algonquin. I’m serious!”

the-tom-judson-show

Tom Judson has appeared onstage as a singer, musician, actor, and as an object of lust and adoration: “Gus Mattox”, GayVN Award-Winning adult film star. He has composed music for the off-Broadway production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, the film Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan, and for TV’s Sesame Street. Tom has written songs for actress/singer Ann Magnuson, playwright and actress Lisa Kron and many more. On occasion he has been accompanist and second banana to drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman. Tom appeared in the Broadway show Cabaret, the National Tour of 42nd Street, and many off-Broadway and regional productions including the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Some Men. His one-man show Canned Ham has been touring the country for the past two years. Also an author and columnist, Tom recently published Laid Bare, a collection of his essays and magazine columns.

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DANIEL CURRAN and ADAM LAU – Schwabacher Debut Recitals, April 22nd

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor


San Francisco Opera Center presents the 30th season of the Schwabacher Debut Recitals on Sunday, April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary (Two Lake Street, at Arguello, in San Francisco). The series begins with Merola Opera Program alumni tenor Daniel Curran and bass Adam Lau performing an eclectic program of works by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, William Bolcom, Henri Duparc, Carl Loewe, Paolo Tosti and Modest Mussorgsky. Curran and Lau will be accompanied by San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow pianist Robert Mollicone.

A 2011 Merola alumnus, tenor Daniel Curran’s performance selection will include Schubert’s Nacht und Träume, Schumann’s Mondnacht, Duparc’s Phidylé and Tosti’s Ideale. While in the Merola Opera Program, Curran performed the role of “Count Almaviva” in Merola’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. His recent engagements include a collaboration with the Juilliard Historical Performance Program and the role of “Don Ottavio” (Don Giovanni) with Opera North in New Hampshire.

Daniel Curran

Daniel Curran

A 2011 Merola alumnus, bass Adam Lau’s Schwabacher program will include Bolcom’s At the Last Lousy Moments of Love, Fur (Murray the Furrier), Song of Black Max; Loewe’s Herr Oluf, Tom der Reimer, Erlkönig; and Mussorgsky’s Song of the Flea. Lau made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2008 as a Baobab/Hunter in Portman’s The Little Prince. Recent accomplishments include winning the Portland District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions along with the audience favorite award.

Adam Lau

Adam Lau

The Schwabacher Debut Recitals continue on Sunday, April 29th with San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Nadine Sierra. Sierra will present a program of works by Bernstein, Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Villa-Lobos with accompaniment by former Adler Fellow and pianist Tamara Sanikidze.

The Schwabacher Debut Recitals have been endowed in perpetuity by the generosity of the late James Schwabacher. A celebrated Bay Area singer, recitalist, scholar and teacher, James Schwabacher was a co-founder of the Merola Opera Program. The Schwabacher Debut Recitals have introduced the artistry of world-renowned opera singers, including Susan Graham, Anna Netrebko, Deborah Voigt, Brian Asawa and Thomas Hampson. The recitals provide an opportunity to hear a wealth of song literature ranging from Baroque masterpieces and Romantic-era classics to newly commissioned works.

MEET THE ARTISTS

Idaho native DANIEL CURRAN is an alumnus of the 2011 Merola Opera Program, where he performed the role of Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Curran performed the role of the Good Samaritan in Benjamin Britten’s Cantata Misericordium at the Florida National Convention with the University Choir and chamber orchestra. He has also had the opportunity to record for film composer John Williams along with members of the Chapman University Choir. A graduate of Chapman University, the tenor’s roles there include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), the title role of Albert Herring, and Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi). Curran also holds a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he performed the Hunter in Conrad Susa’s Transformations and First Commissioner in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmélites. Other recent engagements include a collaboration with the Juilliard Historical Performance Program and William Christie in Alice Tully Hall and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) with Opera North in New Hampshire.

Bass ADAM LAU was a 2011 participant of the Merola Opera Program, where he performed the role of Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Other recent credits include Timur (Turandot) at West Bay Opera; Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) at the Symphony and Opera Academy of the Pacific; the Bartender (Bolcom’s A Wedding) at Music Academy of the West; Masetto (Don Giovanni) at Rice University; and Dr. Bartolo (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Leporello (Don Giovanni), and King Louis XVI (Corigliano’s The Ghost of Versailles) with the Aspen Opera Theater Center. In 2008, he made his San Francisco Opera debut as a Baobab/Hunter in Portman’s The Little Prince. Lau placed second in the Western Regional finals of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In 2008, he won an Encouragement Award from the Marilyn Horne Foundation and was the recipient of the 2008 California Federation of Music Clubs Full Fellowship in Voice. In the spring of 2009, he was invited to sing in the Martin Katz master class at Carnegie Hall in the Song Continues Festival, sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation. In 2010, he won first place in the Henry & Maria Holt West Bay Opera Competition and won the Portland District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions along with the audience favorite award.

Coach and pianist ROBERT MOLLICONE is a first-year Adler Fellow. He was a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where he served on music staff for the Young Artist productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Madama Butterfly, as well as for Don Pasquale, Tosca, and Lucia di Lammermoor on the main stage. He completed his master’s degree in collaborative piano at Boston University as a student of Shiela Kibbe. He has also studied with Maria Clodes, Robert Merfeld, Linda Jiorle-Nagy, and Bertica Cramer. His performance credits include solo engagements, as well as opera, art song, chamber music, orchestral keyboard, musical theatre, and community outreach projects. Mollicone has also performed in master classes for Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, Patrick Summers, Warren Jones, Stephanie Blythe, Phyllis Curtin and Simon Estes, and he has worked with composers Daniel Pinkham, Yehudi Wyner, Michael Friedman, Tobias Picker and Jason Robert Brown. Mollicone has served as a vocal coach and pianist for Boston Lyric Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Boston Opera Collaborative, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Opera North. He was a Spectrum Resident Artist at Virginia Opera in 2009 and a participant in the Merola Opera Program in 2010. Robert Mollicone will be working on San Francisco Opera’s productions of The Magic Flute and Moby Dick in 2012.

TICKETS & INFORMATION:

Single tickets for the Schwabacher Debut Recitals are $25; a two-recital subscription is $50. Tickets may be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office (Mon. 10 am-5 pm, Tues.-Fri. 10 am-6 pm) at (415) 864-3330. Student Rush tickets are available for $15 at Temple Emanu-El 30 minutes prior to each recital (limit of two tickets per person; valid ID is required), subject to availability. Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change.

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MAPLE AND VINE – Now at the American Conservatory Theater

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues its 2011–12 season with the West Coast premiere of Maple and Vine, written by Jordan Harrison and directed by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker. Fresh from a successful run at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, Maple and Vine tells the story of married couple, Katha and Ryu, a pair of stressed-out urban professionals who feel unfulfilled by the impersonal gadgets and fast-paced lifestyle of the modern world. After meeting a charismatic man from a community of 1950s reenactors, they decide to swap cell phones and sushi for phone trees and fish sticks by joining a community where life is slower, passion is risqué, and a cocktail is a daily accessory. In this meticulously recreated world, where retro attitudes about gender, race, and sexuality stir up powerful questions, Katha and Ryu must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for happiness and whether the “good old days” were really that good. Maple and Vine performs a limited run March 29–April 22, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco).
Click here to order tickets on-line: Maple&Vine

The Society of Dynamic Obsolescence

The Society of Dynamic Obsolescence (SDO) member Ellen (Julia Coffey) visits new SDO recruit Katha (Emily Donahoe)

A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff was immediately taken by how the play stirred up conversation. “When we first read Jordan’s play last year,” she says, “we were struck by not only the prescient humor he brought to this wildly entertaining notion that conveniences and evolved lifestyles have made life more complicated, but also with the lingering emotions we all felt days after we read the play! Jordan has captured a very modern world and transplanted it to a seemingly easier time, and of course we learn that, for some, modern complications turn out to be preferable for their way of life. Mark Rucker’s uncanny ability to explore American comedy and this kind of period setting makes him the ideal director for this incredible new work. In the spirit of our breakout hit from last season, Clybourne Park, and last fall’s production of David Mamet’s Race, Maple and Vine asks outrageous and provocative questions about how we live our lives today, using wicked humor to skewer our contemporary perceptions.”

A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events—many of which are presented free of charge—in association with Maple and Vine that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while making a whole night out of their evening at the theater:
• Audience Prologue Featuring Director Mark Rucker: Tuesday, Apr. 3, at 5:30 pm. Get inside the artistic process at this lively preshow discussion with director Mark Rucker.
• Bring What You Can/Pay What You Wish: Thursday, Apr. 5, at 8:00 pm. Pay any amount for your tickets when you bring nonperishable food donations for the San Francisco Food Bank. Patrons are limited to two tickets per donated item, two tickets per person. Tickets go on sale at 6 p.m. the day of the performance.
• Theater on the Couch: Friday, Apr. 6, following the 8 pm performance
Led by Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco’s Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters and addresses audience questions.
• Audience Exchanges: Tue., Apr. 10, at 7 p.m. | Sun., Apr. 15, at 2 p.m. | Wed., Apr. 18, at 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.
OUT with A.C.T.: Wednesday, Apr. 11, following the 8 pm performance. The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Click here for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights throughout the season:
OUT
• A.C.T. Family Series Workshop: Saturday, Apr. 21, at 1 pm. A new theater experience for young adults and their families! Come before the 2:00 matinee for a lively, interactive workshop. Note: due to sexual situations and partial nudity, Maple and Vine is recommended for audiences ages 14 and up.

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THE MET LIVE IN HD: “Der Ring des Nibelungen” – At SF Bay Area Theatres

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

The Metropolitan Opera will present worldwide movie theater screenings of Robert Lepage’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as Wagner’s Dream, a new documentary chronicling the creation of this ambitious new staging. The series begins on Monday, May 7th with a screening of the documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, and continues on May 9th with Das Rheingold, the first opera in the cycle. Participating theaters in San Francisco include Cinearts Empire 3 (85 West Portal Avenue) and (845 Market Street, 5th floor of Westfield Shopping Centre). The entire four-part Ring cycle and documentary will be screened in many countries this spring and summer, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Click here to find other Bay Area locations: THE MET Live in HD

WAGNER’S DREAM – A documentary by Susan Froemke
Monday, May 7 at 6:30 pm. 1 hour, 52 minutes
Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
The stakes could not be higher as one of the theater’s finest stage directors teams up with one of the world’s leading opera companies to tackle opera’s most monumental challenge: a new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle—the four-part, 16-hour work that the composer first presented in 1876. Wagner’s Dream takes you deep into the artistic and musical challenges of the epic work. Visionary director Robert Lepage begins a five-year journey to create the most ambitious staging in Metropolitan Opera history, featuring a 90,000-pound set (“The Machine”) designed to realize all of Wagner’s scenic instructions. The film follows heroic singers from rehearsals to performance as they take on many of the most daunting roles in opera. An intimate look at the challenges of live theater and the risks that must be taken, the documentary chronicles the tremendous creativity and unflagging determination behind this daring attempt to realize Wagner’s dream of a perfect Ring.

das-rheingold-e28093-the-met-live-in-hd

DAS RHEINGOLD – The Met Live in HD. Photo, Ken Howard

DAS RHEINGOLD (The Rhine Gold)
Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 pm. 2 hours, 50 minutes, no intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by James Levine. Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer (Freia), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Richard Croft (Loge), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Eric Owens (Alberich), Franz-Josef Selig (Fasolt), Hans-Peter König (Fafner)
In the first opera in the Ring cycle, the gods of Valhalla clash with underworld dwarves and brawny giants, with disastrous consequences. The evil Alberich steals gold from the Rhine and uses it to forge a ring of unimaginable power. Wotan, the king of the gods, uses magic to steal the Ring, but Alberich places a curse that guarantees misery for whoever wears it. Wotan’s unwillingness to part with the ring leads him to break a contract with the giants who have built the gods’ new castle in the sky, setting in motion a chain of events that will end in his own destruction.

Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Monday, May 14 at 6:30 pm. 259 minutes, including 1 intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by James Levine. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Hans-Peter König (Hunding)
The mysterious hero Siegmund finds shelter in the strangely familiar arms of a lonely woman named Sieglinde. Their forbidden love leads Wotan’s daughter, the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, to defy morality and intervene on behalf of the hero. Brünnhilde’s transgression forces her father to choose between his love for his favorite daughter and his duty to his wife, the formidable goddess Fricka. Overcome with grief, Wotan takes away Brünnhilde’s godlike powers and puts her to sleep on a mountaintop, surrounded by a ring of magic fire that can only be crossed by the bravest of heroes.

stephanie-blythe-fricka-and-bryn-terfel-wotan

STEPHANIE BLYTHE (Fricka) and BRYN TERFEL (Wotan). Photo, Ken Howard

Siegfried
Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 pm. 258 minutes, including one intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (The Wanderer), Eric Owens (Alberich)
The young hero Siegfried grows up in the wilderness, raised by Alberich’s conniving brother Mime. He puts together the broken pieces of the sword Nothung, uses it to slay the fearsome dragon Fafner, and takes the Ring for himself. To fulfill his destiny, he must overcome one more opponent—Wotan, now disguised as the Wanderer, who knows the world of the gods is coming to an end—and cross through the magic fire to awaken his true love, Brünnhilde.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Saturday, May 19 at 12 pm. 287 minutes, including one intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Wendy Bryn Harmer (Gutrune), Waltraud Meier (Waltraute), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Iain Paterson (Gunther), Eric Owens (Alberich), Hans-Peter König (Hagen).
Siegfried and Brünnhilde’s love is torn apart by the curse of the Ring. A trio of scheming humans separates the two heroes in a desperate attempt to steal the Ring for themselves. Their villainous plan fails, but they succeed in murdering Siegfried. Heartbroken, Brünnhilde takes the Ring and leaps into the hero’s funeral pyre, causing a global cataclysm and the twilight of the gods.

jonas-kaufman-siegmund-e28093-eva-maria-westbroek-sieglinde

JONAS KAUFMAN (Siegmund) – EVA-MARIA WESTBROEK (Sieglinde). Photo, Ken Howard

Click here to find other Bay Area locations: THE MET Live in HD

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Chinese Historical Society of America Museum Presents new exhibition Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience

This year, the Year of the Dragon 2012, the Chinese Historical Society of America revitalizes its museum with an infusion of art. CHSA has reached out to its artistic community to create works that interpret and respond to the themes presented in its history galleries. The first of these art installations, Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience, includes five artists whose works focus on personal narrative, memory and family – concepts that characterize Chinese America. The exhibition, on view April 12 through December 15, 2012, features works by Nancy Hom, Michael Jang, Lenora Lee, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong. Remnants debuts with an opening reception on Thursday, April 12, 6pm to 9pm at the CHSA Museum, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco 94108. www.chsa.org

“The inauguration of the Remnants exhibition signals a new creative approach for our exhibition program,” says CHSA executive director Sue Lee. “We are always looking for ways to offer our visitors a deeper understanding of the Chinese American experience.”

The centerpiece of Remnants is a site-specific installation of the set from the performance “Passages” by Lenora Lee Dance. A powerful portrayal of the journey endured by Lee’s grandmother through Angel Island and into American life, “Passages” presents a memorable narrative through stunning visuals. Works by Nancy Hom, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong further explore themes of family and remembrance using a range of artistic expression, bearing unique witness to Chinese American history.

On Saturday, April 14, at 1pm, the CHSA Second Saturday program provides a deeper look into the installation “Passages: For Lee Ping To” with a performance by Lenora Lee Dance, and discussion with artist Lenora Lee (Free with Museum admission.)

An Artists’ Q&A panel expanding on themes in the exhibition will be scheduled in June (TBA).

Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. In 2011, CHSA celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening at the landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese America.

The Chinese Historical Society of America is located at 965 Clay Street, San Francisco, 94108. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, and Saturdays 11am to 4pm. (Closed Sunday, Monday, and Holidays.) Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for students/seniors, $2 for children 6-17. The museum is free the first Thursday of the month. Further information on these and other programs at CHSA is available by calling (415) 391-1188 x101, or at www.chsa.org

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JONATHAN PRYCE – In Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker”, opens 3/28 at the Curran

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

Jonathan Pryce, the two-time Tony Award-winning actor of stage and screen, stars in a new production of Harold Pinter’s acclaimed play, THE CARETAKER opening Wednesday, March 28th at the Curran Theatre and running through April 22nd. With this production, Pryce joins the pantheon of legendary actors who have played the part of the enigmatic drifter, “Davies”. Directed by Christopher Morahan, the play opened first at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre in October 2009 and then moved to London’s West End. It has been acclaimed as one of the finest versions ever produced.

jonathan-pryce-right-and-alex-hassell

Jonathan Pryce (right) and Alex Hassell. Photo, Shane Reid

Harold Pinter – described as an original, disturbing, and arresting talent – brings the play’s three characters to life in one of his greatest psychological dramas. An elderly tramp finds lodging in the derelict home of a mentally challenged younger man and his brother. Their interactions expose struggles and fears which alternate between terror and hilarity. The result: something close to the unbearable.

ABOUT JONATHAN PRYCE

Jonathan Pryce is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning actor, known for his outstanding performances on both stage and screen. Pryce was awarded an honorary doctorate from Liverpool University in 2006, and in 2009 he was awarded the C.B.E in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

His theatre work includes Comedians (Tony Award/Best Actor), Hamlet (Olivier Award/Best Actor), Miss Saigon (Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier and Outer Circle Critics Awards/Best Actor in a Musical), Oliver! My Fair Lady, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? Glengarry Glen Ross, Dimetos and his recent landmark performance as “Davies” in The Caretaker.

jonathan-pryce-and-harold-pinter

JONATHAN PRYCE and HAROLD PINTER

Pryce’s film credits include: Voyage of the Damned, Breaking Glass (Evening Standard Awards/Best Newcomer), Something Wicked This Way Comes, Barbarians at the Gate (Emmy and Golden Globe Nominations/Best Actor), The Age of Innocence, Glengarry Glen Ross, Carrington (Cannes Film Festival and Evening Standard Awards/Best Actor and BAFTA Award nomination), Evita, and three films directed by Terry Gilliam: Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Brothers Grimm. He also played James Bond villain “Elliot Carver” in Tomorrow Never Dies. More recent film credits include: Hysteria, Bedtime Stories, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, My Zinc Bed, Leatherheads, De-Lovely, What A Girl Wants and The Affair of the Necklace. Pryce is also recognized as “Governor Weatherby Swann” in the Pirates of the Caribbean productions: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. Jonathan recently filmed G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Pryce’s television work includes: The Man from the Pru, Selling Hitler, Great Moments in Aviation, Baker Street Irregulars, Thicker Than Water and “Mr Buxton” in Cranford: Return to Cranford (Emmy Nomination /Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama).

Click here to order tickets on-line:

THE CARETAKER

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SF SYMPHONY – Summer line-up includes “The Wizard of Oz”

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

The San Francisco Symphony’s Summer & the Symphony concert line-up includes the world premiere of Pixar in Concert, with the Orchestra performing memorable scores to accompany visually stunning clips from each of Pixar’s films, and Natalie Merchant, salsa band Tiempo Libre and Classical Mystery Tour, featuring the music of The Beatles, all performing with the Orchestra. Michael Feinstein performs Sinatra classics with his Big Band, and the Orchestra accompanies screenings of The Wizard of Oz. The acrobats and circus performers of Cirque Musica perform to live orchestral accompaniment by the Symphony. The Orchestra also performs a summer classical concert series, and two free outdoor concerts, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Stern Grove Festival and with Tiempo Libre in Dolores Park. On the Fourth of July, the Orchestra plays inspiring folk, pop, and classical favorites at the annual Shoreline Amphitheatre Independence Day concert and fireworks extravaganza. Click here for ticket information: SFSymphony

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Michael Feinstein

The summer concerts begin June 18, when vocalist Natalie Merchant performs with the Symphony in a concert of her own hits and well-loved favorites, sharing with fans her new artistic path–songs composed for expanded musical ensembles and orchestras. A unique highlight of the summer series is the world premiere of Pixar in Concert on July 28 and 29. For the first time, audiences will experience watching visually stunning clips from Pixar’s beloved movies with the Orchestra performing selections from the memorable scores. On July 26 and 27, the Symphony presents The Wizard of Oz on the big screen, starring Judy Garland, with the Orchestra playing Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg’s lush score.

Michael Feinstein and his Big Band perform a tribute to Frank Sinatra on July 15, and on August 2 and 3, the Classical Mystery Tour performs over two dozen of The Beatles’ classic songs, in costume, with the Orchestra playing the original symphonic arrangements.

The classical concerts, led by conductor Michael Francis, kick off with a program of Spanish-inflected favorites on July 12, featuring guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas, followed by a night of Russian favorites featuring violinist Karen Gomyo on July 13. Pianist Gilles Vonsattel performs as the soloist on July 14 in an all-Beethoven program with the Orchestra. Francis leads an evening of all-American favorites on July 19, featuring pianist Charlie Albright , and the Orchestra performs an all-Dvořák program with cellist Alisa Weilerstein on July 20.

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Natalie Merchant. Photo, Mark Seliger

On June 18 at 8 p.m., Natalie Merchant will perform with the San Francisco Symphony in a concert of her own hits and well-loved favorites. Since she first gained fame as the lead singer of chart-topping ‘80s pop band 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant has earned a distinguished place among America’s most respected recording artists, with a reputation for being a prolific songwriter with a compelling artistic vision and a unique and captivating performance style. With her 2010 release Leave Your Sleep, which debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at number 17, Merchant embarked on a new artistic path–creating songs from literary inspiration for expanded musical ensembles and orchestra. James Bagwell conducts.

The San Francisco Symphony performs its annual Fourth of July concert and celebration at 8 p.m. on July 4 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. The evening finishes with a spectacular fireworks show. Tickets go on sale through Live Nation at a later date.

Cirque Musica takes audiences on a journey to a faraway land of dazzling beauty and mystery on July 6 at 7:30 p.m. The show blends the grace and thrills of great circus performers with stunning symphonic music from classical and popular repertoire performed by the San Francisco Symphony. Sarah Hicks conducts.

This summer, Stern Grove Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary as the longest running admission-free outdoor music festival in the country. San Francisco Symphony – which gave the first performance in the Grove – celebrates this milestone on Sunday, July 8 at 2 p.m., when Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the Orchestra, SFS Chorus and soloists Katie Van Kooten, Jennifer Johnson-Cano, Russell Thomas and Nathan Berg in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. This free concert is presented in association with the Stern Grove Festival. No tickets are required. The concert will be broadcast live on KDFC 89.9/90.3 FM and at kdfc.com.

On Sunday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m., Michael Feinstein and his Big Band perform a tribute to Frank Sinatra, featuring classic Sinatra tunes and favorites from the American songbook. The multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer, dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. In 2009, Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”

Three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban music group Tiempo Libre joins the San Francisco Symphony and conductor Michael Francis in concert on Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 pm. Celebrated for their incendiary, joyful performances of timba, an irresistible, dance-inducing mix of high-voltage Latin jazz, and the seductive rhythms of son, Tiempo Libre is one of the hottest young Latin bands of today, equally at home in concert halls, jazz clubs and dance venues. Following their performance with the Orchestra, Tiempo Libre takes over the Davies Symphony Hall stage in a rollicking jam session.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, the Orchestra performs a free outdoor concert with Tiempo Libre in San Francisco’s Dolores Park, featuring conductor Michael Francis. Symphonic dances from West Side Story and selections from Rodeo set the tone for an afternoon of music in the sun. This concert is free; no tickets are required.

On Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27, the Orchestra, led by Michael Francis, performs the original score to a screening of the classic film The Wizard of Oz, accompanying the vocals of Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and the full cast of characters in song. Children and adults alike are encouraged to attend in costume and enter the costume raffle for a chance to win fun prizes.

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The Wizard of Oz

From the Toy Story trilogy to Wall•E, Ratatouille and many more, Pixar has forever impacted filmmaking and given audiences of all ages some of the most beloved characters in cinematic history. On Saturday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m., the Orchestra performs the world premiere of Pixar in Concert, as Sarah Hicks leads the Orchestra in a very special concert of memorable scores to accompany visually stunning clips from each of Pixar’s films.

The 2012 Summer & the Symphony series closes with two nights of Fab Four fun, as the Classical Mystery Tour performs the classic songs of The Beatles with the San Francisco Symphony led by Sarah Hicks on Thursday, August 2 and Friday, August 3. This extraordinary show features more than two dozen Beatles tunes performed exactly as they were written, including “Penny Lane” with a trumpet section, “Yesterday” with acoustic guitar and string quartet, and the rock/classical blend on the hard-edged “I Am the Walrus,” as well as full-band costume changes.

CLASSICAL CONCERTS

Conductor Michael Francis leads the Orchestra on Thursday, July 12, in a program of Spanish-inflected favorites, featuring guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas, who makes his SFS debut performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. The program also includes Chabrier’s Habanera, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, music from Bizet’s Carmen, and Ravel’s Boléro. Sainz Villegas quickly established himself as one of the world’s leading classical guitarists by winning the gold medal at the Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition in 2006. His prize-winning performance with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra led to concerts in more than 30 countries, as well as his four-performance debut with the New York Philharmonic and two subsequent engagements with the orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall.

Francis conducts the Orchestra on Friday, July 13 in a night of Russian favorites, featuring violinist Karen Gomyo performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. The program also includes Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, and Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812. Recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008, Gomyo has performed as a soloist in the United States with the San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Tokyo Symphonies, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the National Symphony of Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, July 14, Francis and the Orchestra perform an all-Beethoven program, with pianist Gilles Vonsattel as the soloist in Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, and the Orchestra performing Symphony No. 5 and the Egmont Overture. A recipient of the 2008 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Vonsattel made his SFS debut performing in the 2011 Summer & the Symphony’s all-Mozart program.

Francis leads the Orchestra in an evening of all-American favorites on Thursday, July 19, featuring pianist Charlie Albright. The program includes Copland’s Appalachian Spring and four Dance Episodes from Rodeo, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Albright is the winner of the prestigious 2010 Gilmore Young Artist Award and the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and performed with the San Francisco Symphony with conductor Alondra de la Parra. He has also appeared with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra with Gerard Schwarz, and the Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart.

On Friday, July 20, Francis conducts an all-Dvořák program including Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Opus 95, From the New World and Alisa Weilerstein as soloist in the Cello Concerto in B minor. The program opens with Dvořák’s Carnival Overture. Weilerstein performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the SFS with pianist Jeremy Denk, violinist Chee Yun and conductor Marek Janowski during the 2010-11 season. In September 2011 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and in 2010 she became an exclusive recording artist for Decca Classics, the first cellist to be signed by the label in over 30 years. Her 2010 performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Daniel Barenboim was televised live to a worldwide audience of millions and was released on DVD.

Click here for ticket information: SFSymphony

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk – opens at the de Young Museum, 3/24

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

Opening on March 24th and continuing its strong track record of exhibitions highlighting the work of the innovators and iconoclasts of the world of fashion, the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park presents, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first exhibition devoted to the celebrated French designer and his personal themes of “equality, diversity and perversity.” The de Young is the exclusive west coast venue for this critically acclaimed international exhibition after its premier at the organizing institution, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its presentation at the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition will be on view at the de Young in the Herbst Exhibition Galleries from March 24–August 19, 2012. Click here for ticket information: GAULTIER

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JEAN PAUL GAULTIER. Parisiennes collection, Les Particules élémentaires dress haute couture fall/winter 2010-2011. Photo, Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Dubbed fashion’s “enfant terrible” from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s, Jean Paul Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. Very early on, his avant-garde fashions reflected an understanding of a multicultural society’s issues and preoccupations, shaking up—with invariable good humor—established societal and aesthetic codes. More of a contemporary installation than a fashion retrospective, this major exhibition—which the couturier considers to be a creation in its own right—features approximately 140 ensembles spanning over 35 years from the designer’s couture and ready-to-wear collections, along with their accessories, and numerous archival documents. Many of these extraordinary pieces have never before been exhibited.

“Was there ever a more perfect match than Jean Paul Gaultier and San Francisco?” asked John E. Buchanan, Jr., the recently deceased director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “This exhibition fuses the energy of street culture with haute couture craftsmanship and presents it through the lens of cutting edge multimedia that is synonymous to the Bay Area. As the exclusive venue for previous exhibitions of the work of Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga, we know the Bay Area is ready to explore the oeuvre of yet another master of design, Jean Paul Gaultier.

FAMSF curator of costume and textile arts Jill D’Alessandro expands, “Gaultier catapulted on to the fashion scene with his unconventional approach that drew inspiration from television, film, music and street culture. For the last four decades he has remained a catalyst for our times. This dynamic exhibition is a truly multi-media extravaganza complete with animated mannequins, runway clips and video excerpts from his extensive film and music collaborations, and succeeds in capturing the raw, sometimes chaotic energy that defines our contemporary lives and Gaultier’s world.”

“I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity,” explained Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Beyond the technical virtuosity, an unbridled imagination, and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, Gaultier offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, and sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity through a unique ‘fusion couture.’”

Keenly interested in all the world’s cultures and countercultures, Gaultier has picked up on the current trends and proclaimed the right to be different, and in the process conceived a new kind of fashion in both the way it is made and worn. Through twists, transformations, transgressions and reinterpretations, he not only erases the boundaries between cultures but also the sexes, creating a new androgyny or playing with subverting established fashion codes.

A celebration of Gaultier’s daring inventiveness and humanist vision, this exhibition pays tribute to his cutting-edge fashion and explores the audaciously eclectic sources of his ideas. “Jean Paul Gaultier,” notes Thierry-Maxime Loriot, originating curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, “initiates trends rather than following them, which explains why he is still relevant after more than 35 years of creation. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is not simply reminiscent of the past, but rather a link to the present as seen through the eyes of the couturier. By paying tribute to different cultures, mixing pop culture and couture, breaking the codes of fashion and taboos of society, you realize how open-minded and generous Gaultier’s fashion is. This unique exhibition offers visitors access to the world of Jean Paul Gaultier and haute couture, as well as articulating the strong social message behind his work, which truly defines his very own distinctive aesthetic.”

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EMIL LARSSON. Body corset worn by Madonna. Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990. Dazed & Confused, April 2008. Photo, Emil Larsson

The multimedia installation is organized along six different thematic sections tracing the influences, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction, that have marked the couturier’s creative development:

  • The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier—begins the exhibition with an exploration of several signature Gaultier motifs – the blue and white striped sailor shirt in all its themes and variations, spectacular mermaids and virgins, and welcomes the visitor with singing mannequins and a special cameo by the designer himself.
  • The Boudoir—explores Gaultier’s fascination with lingerie and underpinnings culminating in his signature collaboration with Madonna for her Blonde Ambition tour.
  • Skin Deep—a risqué, provocative gallery featuring garments inspired by themes of bondage and body art.
  • Punk Cancan—features the dichotomy between the typical upscale French couture client and the street punks of London.
  • Urban Jungle—a multicultural clash of influences including Hussars, Mongolians, Hassidic Jews, Frida Kahlo and China. This gallery includes highlights of Gaultier’s haute couture detailing with unusual materials and techniques on view.
  • Metropolis—concludes the exhibition with a presentation of Gaultier’s work for film, performance pieces and his relationships with pop icons such as Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner.

Sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, runway shows, concerts, videos, dance performances and even television programs on view further explore how his avant-garde fashions challenged societal and aesthetic codes in unexpected, and often humorous ways. The many legendary artistic collaborations that have characterized Gaultier’s global vision are examined in film (Pedro Almodóvar, Peter Greenaway, Luc Besson, Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet); contemporary dance (Angelin Preljocaj, Régine Chopinot and Maurice Béjart); and within the realm of popular music through performers such as Madonna, whose friendship with Gaultier has led her to graciously lend two iconic corsets from her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour that launched the cone bra into fashion iconography.

Fashion photography is also a major focus of attention, thanks to loans of never-before-seen prints from contemporary photographers and renowned contemporary artists including Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Erwin Wurm, David LaChapelle, Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Pierre et Gilles, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Paolo Roversi and Robert Doisneau.

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PAOLO ROVERSI. Tanel Bedrossiantz, 1992. Barbès collection. Women’s prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1984–1985. Photo, Paolo Roversi

An innovative exhibition design by the Paris-based architectural and stage design company Projectiles, showcases the couturier’s designs, as well as prints and video clips, illustrating many of Gaultier’s artistic collaborations. Throughout the galleries, thirty unique mannequins wearing remarkable wigs and headdresses by Odile Gilbert, founder of the Atelier 68 in Paris, come ‘alive’ with interactive faces created by technologically ingenious audiovisual projections, surprising visitors with their lifelike presence. Poetic and playful, the production, design and staging of this dynamic audiovisual element has been produced by Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of UBU/Compagnie de création. A dozen celebrities, including Gaultier himself, have lent their faces—projected on to the mannequins—and often their voices to this project.

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THE CULT OF BEAUTY – Now At the Legion of Honor through June 17th

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860–1900, now at the Legion of Honor through June 17th, is the first major exhibition to explore the unconventional creativity of the British Aesthetic Movement, tracing its evolution from a small circle of progressive artists and poets, through the achievements of innovative painters and architects, to its broad impact on fashion and the middle-class home. Over 180 superb artworks on view express the manifold ways that avant-garde attitudes permeated Victorian material culture: the traditional high art of painting, fashionable trends in architecture and interior decoration, handmade and manufactured furnishings for the “artistic” home, art photography, and new modes of dress. The exhibition was previously on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Legion of Honor is the exclusive U.S. venue. Click here to purchase tickets on-line: The Cult of Beauty

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THE CULT OF BEAUTY. Photo, T.R. Crites

British Aestheticism radically radically redefined the relationships between the artist and society, between the “fine arts” and design, and between art and both ethics and criticism. The iconoclastic belief that art’s sole purpose is to be beautiful on its own formal terms stood in direct opposition to Victorian society’s commitment to art’s role as moral educator. Aestheticism is now recognized as the wellspring for both the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements. The Cult of Beauty showcases the entirety of the Aesthetic Movement’s output, celebrating the startling beauty and variety of creations by such artists and designers as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, Edward Burne-Jones, E. W. Godwin, William Morris and Christopher Dresser.

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Walter Crane, Design for part of ‘Swan, Rush and Iris’ wallpaper, 1875. William Morris, Bird fabric, 1878.

The first sections of the exhibition explore this search for a new beauty both in the design creations and paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and their circle. The necessity of decorating their own homes led these bohemian characters to create furnishings of elegant and forthright form—furniture, wallpaper, textiles, and decorative objects of every type—utilizing traditional methods of construction and incorporating stylized motifs into their surface ornamentation. William Morris’s Fruit (or Pomegranate) wallpaper (1866) combines plant forms observed both first hand and those more stylized representations found in woodcuts, illuminated manuscripts and tapestries. Exhibition visitors will delight in Morris wallpapers and then wonder why exquisitely beautiful aesthetic paintings, such as Frederic Leighton’s sensual Pavonia (1858–1859) and the Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt’s Il Dolce Far Niente (1866), shocked the conventional Victorian public. The Cult of Beauty continues to unfold in sections exploring significant aspects of the Victorian avant-garde aesthetic and its movement from the artist’s studio to middle-class drawing rooms.

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William Holman Hunt. (Detail) Il Dolce Far Niente (1866)

An early highpoint underscores the Victorian avant-garde belief that art exists only to be beautiful, as suggested by their rallying cry “Art for Art’s Sake.” Featured is James McNeill Whistler’s 1862 Symphony in White No. 1: The White Girl (notorious for its inclusion in Paris’s famed Salon des Refusés of 1863), showing his paramour and muse, Jo Hiffernan. Architect and designer Edward William Godwin’s signature ebonized sideboard (1865–1875) reveals the deceptively “modern” result he achieved by mining historic sources. Showcased is the virtuoso collaboration between Godwin and Whistler: a glorious piece of furniture titled Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Butterfly Cabinet (1877–1878). Inspiration from various disparate cultural and historic traditions is epitomized by William Eden Nesfield’s Anglo-Japanese screen (1867).

The importance of the 1877 opening of the Grosvenor Gallery (London’s progressive gallery space) for the public reception of Aestheticism is the underlying narrative in a gallery devoted to Grosvenor exhibits. Edward Burne-Jones’s monumental ode to Laus Veneris (1873–1878) sings with rich orange and red tones corresponding to Algernon Charles Swinburne’s heady and sensual poem of the same name. John Roddam Spencer Stanhope’s ambitious Love and the Maiden (1877), which reintroduced the tempera medium to modern audiences, references mythology, classical art and the paintings of Botticelli.

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John Spencer Stanhope. Love and the Maiden, 1877

“Aesthetic Houses for Beautiful People, 1870s–1880s” speaks to the “artistic” lifestyle and domestic environment crafted by followers of the Cult of Beauty. Architectural and interior designs for these Aesthetes’ cultivated patrons show visitors the sophisticated color schemes that created the House Beautiful. As the wider public adopted an aesthetic veneer, commercial enterprises such as Liberty’s of London manufactured furnishing goods of all types to attract customers at every price point, from extensive redecorating to a single peacock feather for the mantelpiece. Morris & Co. continued to market signature wallpapers, fabrics and other decorator items, including the Flora and Pomona (1883–1885) tapestries designed and executed by the team of Edward Burne-Jones and John Henry Dearle.

Upstairs in Gallery 1 of the Legion, presented separately, are several Aesthetic costumes that parallel then contemporary calls of the Dress Reform Movement to liberate the Victorian woman from her corset. The dresses are set against handsome portraits of the men and women of the artistic set that adopted Aesthetic dress. James Jacques Joseph Tissot’s Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870) depicts one of these beautiful people in his striking military uniform lounging in a well-appointed household. One can imagine Christopher Dresser’s tea service (1880) of silver plate with ebony handles just out of view.

Idiosyncratic architect and designer of eccentric home furnishings, Thomas Jeckyll, is featured in several sections of the exhibition. His Four Seasons Gates (c. 1867) demonstrates the remarkable combination of naturalistic scrollwork in wrought iron with motifs derived from Japanese prints. This monumental piece (shown at the Paris International Exposition of 1867) introduces the final section of The Cult of Beauty.

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (Detail) The Day Dream, 1880

“Late-Flowering Beauty: 1880s–1890s” delights the visitor with sumptuous paintings and emotive sculpture. A longstanding contributor to the Cult of Beauty, Dante Gabriel Rossetti helped foster a close relationship between Aesthetic painting and literature by composing poems to accompany his paintings. A sonnet on temporality featuring a sycamore tree accompanies one of his final works, The Day Dream (1880). Fine examples of book design underscore the fascination of innovative artists with the Book Beautiful, including Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris’s The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs (Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1898), and the cover designs of Le Morte Darthur by Sir Thomas Malory (1893–1894) and Salome by Oscar Wilde (1920). The installation culminates with Frederic Leighton’s life-sized bronze The Sluggard (1882–1885), which represents The New Sculpture by communicating abstract emotions. Albert Moore’s masterpiece Midsummer (1887) beautifully anticipates the Symbolist’s fascination with sleep and dreams.

catalogue

Catalogue

The essays in The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860–1900, edited by Dr. Lynn Federle Orr and Stephen Calloway, examine the Cult of Beauty as a cultural phenomenon, looking at the Aesthetic Movement both broadly and in highly focused detail from a wide variety of perspectives and treating the material both historically and thematically. The catalogue is available in the Museum Store and online (295 pages; hardcover $65/softcover $35.95).  To purchase the catalog online:  The Cult of Beauty

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CRAZY HORSE – Ultra Chic Documentary on Parisian Nightclub

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Arts Contributor
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

CRAZY HORSE, the latest from documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, is the ultimate expression in backstage reality. It concerns the world renowned Parisian nightclub which is set to open a new show in about ten weeks – “Désirs”. Crazy Horse, the club, is the very last word in Nude Chic. As a legendary Parisian must-see, Crazy Horse is rivaled only by the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. An Opening Night at Crazy Horse represents the single hottest ticket in town. Wiseman and his camera crew arrive just in time to chronicle the rehearsal process and the artistic realization of “Désirs”. He will follow the show’s choreographer, world renowned Philippe Decouflé, and capture the crazy energies and frustrations that go with birthing a vision into three-dimensional marketable reality. It soon becomes clear to the choreographer – especially from the ten semi-naked perfectly matched always bare-breasted girls who would rather not have a lot of touchy-feely going on in any of the show’s many routines – that, somewhere between now and the opening, somebody or something’s gotta give.

The world of Crazy Horse is all about the enticing mystery of female eroticism. Everything is uncovered in this 2-hour documentary about arriving to and narrowing down the visual and musical expression of that essence and then exploiting it as great performance art – like nowhere else in the world. The Artistic Director at Crazy Horse, who admits to being totally obsessed with the club’s reputation for artistic perfection, describes the end product this way. “It’s a supreme achievement of beauty under various forms. I have to pinch myself to make sure I belong to this place of ultimate refinement, beauty and desire.”

zula-zazouZula Zazou. Photo, Francois Mori

Throughout his ten weeks of filming, Wiseman makes us the eye witness to the intense drama of actualizing these illusions of desire. A recurring stumbling block for choreographer Decouflé is the club’s dysfunctional system of communication between him and its technical staff, the lighting and sound designers, the costume and wig makers, and the expectations of the club’s financial backers. He suggests that Crazy Horse should close for a while, totally shut the door on its sold-out fifteen performances-a-week money maker and just start over. That doesn’t work for the club’s investors. “We claim to have the best nude dancing show in the world,” Decouflé complains to the manager, “and that we’re renewing this type of show. So give me the means to achieve it! If we want a dazzling premiere that will impress the intellectuals and all, let’s make it happen.”

Decouflé’s choreography is an amalgamation of the ultra refined and the super-erotic. Each of his separate acts is a completely realized statement about the female form divine. “You can’t do as you please with the girls,” complains the costume designer to Decouflé. “They do the splits, facing the audience or whatever. You don’t take chances with a naked girl!” The exquisite showgirls are caressed by the very latest of fine and inventive theatrical fabrics. They are bathed in projections of glittering showers, kaleidoscopic colors, polka dots and leopard spots which tease and fondle their nearly-identical and perfect bodies. The imagination is frequently stirred with the use of back-lit silhouettes. At Crazy Horse, the performer must be versed in ballet, nouveau cirque, yoga, and the raw energies of pole dancing. Allowing for a shimmer of wiggle room, the “Crazy Horse Girl” is in a category that is ultimately rare, narrowly defined, and supremely charismatic.

frederick-wisemans-crazy-horseFrederick Wiseman’s “Crazy Horse”

Towards the end of the documentary, Director Wiseman includes the audition held for replacements. By now, we recognize the candidates who are not going to make it through to the first cut. Backstage, the assistant choreographer says to the group of hopefuls, “Don’t stress out. You’ll go on stage with just a G-string and your shoes if you want. This audition is meant to see your body proportions and physical aspect. It’s not about your dancing or performing capacities. Be pretty, classy, relaxed, and push your buttocks out. We’ll see who’s a dancer and who’s not anyway.” A flat-chested transexual was the first to get bumped.

Frederick Wiseman has made 37 documentaries and 2 fiction films. Among his documentaries are Titicut Follies, Welfare, Public Housing, Near Death, La Comédie Française ou l’Amour Joué, and La Danse—Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris. His documentaries are dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray the joy, sadness, comedy and tragedy of ordinary experience. He has won numerous awards including four Emmys, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

CRAZY HORSE is now playing at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinemas in San Francisco, Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley, and Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

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MAURICE – An Interview with Soren Santos and Alex Kirschner, now at New Conservatory Theatre Center

“UNFAITHFULLY YOURS” – Tchaikovsky and Rossini meet Noir City X

LEANNE BORGHESI – SF Bay Area Star on the Rise

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Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought – Now at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

From the very first chapters of the Torah where one encounters them in the Garden of Eden, to the commandment Bal Tashchit (do not destroy) found in Deuteronomy forbidding their wanton destruction during wartime, trees occupy a particularly potent and symbolic place in Jewish literature and lore as expressions of paradise, regeneration, shelter, the bounty of the earth, longevity, and even as a precursor to the coming of the Messiah.

Now through May 28th, a new three-part exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, explores the role of the tree in Jewish tradition and beyond through the lens of contemporary artists, offering fresh perspectives on ritual practice and our connection to the natural world.

The companion exhibitions include the continuation of The Dorothy Saxe Invitational, an exhibition series in which artists from diverse backgrounds and working in a range of media are invited to explore Jewish ritual objects (this year focusing on the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for the Trees), as well as a selection of work examining the tree more widely in contemporary art practice by international artists including Gabriela Albergaria, Zadok Ben David, Joseph Beuys, April Gornik, Charles Labelle, Rodney Graham, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Yoko Ono, Roxy Paine, Tal Shochat, and more. The third component is the expansion of the exhibition beyond the walls of the Museum on to the Jessie Square Plaza with a commission by the San Francisco-based environmental design firm Rebar. Click here for more information: CJM

april-gornik-light-in-the-woods-2011April Gornik, Light in the Woods, 2011

“While we were inspired to create this exhibition by the particular significance of trees in Judaism, especially now as global environmental concerns have begun to impact contemporary Jewish practice, the tree is a universally potent symbol in many cultures and religions,” says curator Dara Solomon. “Taken together, these exhibitions are an opportunity for everyone to commune with trees through video, photography, sculpture and painting – to be awed by their scale, their longevity, and their ability to encourage deeper thinking about history, the environment, and our place in it. We invite the public to consider the ancient dictum of Do Not Destroy, a commandment to not only protect trees but to dream of a better world.”

Building upon the Museum’s long-standing tradition of asking artists from a variety of backgrounds to explore a Jewish ceremonial object, holiday, or concept within the context of their own mediums and artistic philosophy, over 50 contemporary artists from across the United States have created new works of art in response to a broad range of themes inspired by the holiday Tu B’Shevat (the New Year for the Trees).

Tu B’Shevat, a minor holiday that falls in the middle of winter, has become increasingly important for many Jews, especially here in the Bay Area, who have integrated faith and concern for the natural environment in a practice of environmental Tikkun Olam (making the world a better place). Originally a 2nd century holiday necessary for tithing crops to the temple, Tu B’Shevat was revived in the 16th century by mystical Kabbalists who observed the holiday with a feast of fruits in a special vegan seder that celebrated the life-giving properties of trees. In the 20th century, the meaning of the holiday shifted again as the planting of trees in Israel became crucial to inhabiting the land and gaining independence. Today, Tu B’Shevat has gained momentum with young Jews in particular who connect with Judaism through environmentalism and social justice.

For the exhibition, each participating artist was asked to incorporate reclaimed wood into their work in some way. San Francisco designer Yves Behar fashioned the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, from a piece of bay laurel driftwood found on the beach at Bolinas. Behar’s piece is meant to suggest a reordering of our priorities. “Our awareness of nature needs to be first, like the first letter Aleph,” says Behar.

Colorado sculptor Yoshitomo Saito used a found aspen root as the basis for a work in bronze. Saito discovered that this iconic Colorado tree spreads through a root system that supports a colony of trees. While an individual tree may only live for 40-150 years above ground, the root system can survive for thousands of years. Says Saito, “The aspen root … represents not only the foundation of life but also means of survival and thriving of community.”

yoshitomo-saito-aspen-roots-for-tu-be28099shevat-2011Yoshitomo Saito, Aspen Roots for Tu B’Shevat, 2011

Also echoing this idea of endurance and its opposite, fragility, is a piece by Stanford-based artist Gail Wight who has fashioned handmade paper–a delicate and ephemeral medium–on which she has created an image of a cross section from a Devonian tree from over 400 million years ago.

Luke Bartels, a member of the Woodshop collective in San Francisco’s Sunset district, contributed a piece entitled The Wood Standard. The piece, a stack of wood shaped like bars of gold, questions the manner of ascribing value to particular materials over others–in this case positing trees or wood as valuable as gold.

Michigan artist Lynne Avadenka took inspiration from a verse in the Book of Psalms that equates happiness, equanimity, and faith with a tree: “And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water that brings forth fruit in its season and whose leaf will not wither.” Avadenka used twigs from a fallen elm in front of her house to write out the Hebrew words of this passage, photographing them and fusing the images onto glass tiles.

yuken-teruya-the-giving-tree-project-2006Yuken Teruya, The Giving Tree Project, 2006

San Francisco artist Lisa Congdon was most interested in the symbolism associated with the Tu B’Shevat seder, and particularly the progression of four glasses of wine, from white to rose to red, that are part of the ritual feast. Made up of rows of triangles of reclaimed wood, the piece reflects on the layers of meaning she saw in the wine: “feminine to masculine, light to dark, creation and growth.”

Additionally, the Museum is working with Israeli artist/designer Dov Abramson to create an installation exploring how Jewish life and the cycles of trees are intertwined. This graphic wall will take visitors through an orchard of images, ideas, and language that illuminate the Jewish relationship to trees through ancient texts, contemporary rituals, and mystical ideas.

The exhibition catalog, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought is available in the CJM Museum Store and online. The tree is a universally potent symbol with particular significance in Judaism, especially now as global environmental concerns have begun to impact contemporary Jewish practice. Written by CJM Curator Dara Solomon, with essays by Jeremy Benstein and Mary Jane Jacob. The catalog includes images of each piece of art featured in the exhibition. Click here to order on-line; Do Not Destroy

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MAMMA MIA! – Diggin’ the Dancing Queen, now at the Orpheum Theatre

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Arts Contributor
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

MAMMA MIA! opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 18, 2001 and stayed there less than seven months through May 4th. The next day the show’s very simple and portable revolving sets scooted over to the Cadillac Winter Garden Theatre where it resumed the following day and stayed through New Year’s Eve 2006. By New Year’s Day it had returned to the other Winter Garden and opened promptly somewhere around 8:10, as it will again tonight and in seven other locations around the world and in a variety of languages. Amazing. That translates to a helluva lotta work for an enormous amount of performers appearing in any of its leading roles, supporting roles, and ensemble positions whether on Broadway or in any of the national and international touring companies. “Way-to-go!” Composer/lyricists Benny Anderssn and Björn Ulvaeus and the author of the show’s book, Catherine Johnson, shuffled her flimsy storyline together with the greatest hits of ABBA and created a juke-box-variety show that eventually earned the tag, “the ultimate feel-good musical”. Moreover, the show’s finale has a built-in obligatory standing ovation and you really don’t want to be the only one left sitting lest anyone think you really don’t feel good and/or are ultimately resistant to the infectious Spirit. That, too, is amazing.

happy-mahaney-and-chloe-tuckerHappy Mahaney and Chloe Tucker

But, after more than a decade’s worth of contrived ovations, pseudo Disco lights, cardboard sets, and all the imitation Pop/Rock vocals from whoever is playing whichever part tonight – even the most cult-variety die-hard fan could sense the ho-hum response on the applause meter at the Opening Night performance. No matter how many yards of glimmering silver lamé are involved or the level of squealing perkiness behind the corny bits of humor – it’s, like, totally amazing how really lack-luster the greatest hits of ABBA can become, especially when backed by the unrelenting one-dimensional nature of synthesized sound in the cavernous Orpheum Theatre where monaural output is very alive and well.

The show runs through March 4th. Click here to watch the trailer and to purchase tickets on-line: MAMMA MIA

See related articles:

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FIRST U.S. LOOK AT ANDREW LLYOD WEBBER’S LOVE NEVER DIES

KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with “The Diva” of Teatro ZinZanni

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NAPOLEON (1927) – Carl Davis conducts the Oakland East Bay Symphony

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present the U.S. premiere of Abel Gance’s legendary silent epic NAPOLEON in its complete restoration by Academy Award-winning historian, documentarian, and archivist Kevin Brownlow, in four special screenings at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on March 24, 25 and 31 and April 1, 2012. The screenings also mark the U.S. premiere of the orchestral score by composer Carl Davis, who will conduct the Oakland East Bay Symphony. The Davis score may be the longest continuous film music ever composed and conducted. The occasion marks the first time in nearly 30 years since NAPOLEON has been screened in America, in any form and with full orchestra.

napoleon-e28093-directed-by-abel-gance-1927NAPOLEON – Directed by Abel Gance (1927)

The SFSFF’s spectacular presentation at the 3,000-seat, Art Deco Oakland Paramount will be climaxed by its finale in “Polyvision” – an enormous triptych, employing three specially-installed synchronized projectors, that will dramatically expand the screen to triple its width (25 years later, the American process Cinerama would employ a very similar system). Each screening will begin in the afternoon and will be shown in four parts with three intermissions, including a dinner break. Click here to purchase tickets on-line: NAPOLEON

The Brownlow restoration, produced with his partner Patrick Stanbury at Photoplay Productions in association with the BFI, is the most complete version of Gance’s masterpiece since its 1927 premiere at the Paris Opéra. The is undoubtedly the U.S. film world’s most long-anticipated event: because of the enormous expense and technical challenges of properly presenting the epic film, it has taken Brownlow and company three decades to mount American screenings with the magnificent Davis score, which has previously been performed only in Europe.

albert-dieudonne-e28093-as-napoleonALBERT DIEUDONNÉ – as Napoleon

pierre-batcheff-e28093-as-general-lazare-hoche-center-2nd-from-leftPIERRE BATCHEFF – As Général Lazare Hoche (center, 2nd from left)

A four-hour version of Napoleon was screened in the early 1980s at the Castro Theatre. Francis Ford Coppola sponsored this triumphant road show of the shorter version which contained its Polyvision finale and a score composed by his father Carmine. Kevin Brownlow, who last year became the first film historian ever honored with a special Academy Award, became fascinated with Gance’s film when still a schoolboy in London in the 1950s. “I was stunned by the cinematic flair,” says Brownlow. “I was exhilarated by the rapid cutting and the swirling camera movement. What daring! I had never seen anything comparable – and I set out to find more of it.” That determination led to a lifelong quest.

director-abel-gance-and-kevin-brownlow-1967Director Abel Gance and Kevin Brownlow, 1967 (Photo, Photoplay Productions)

The first major Brownlow/BFI restoration culminated in a screening at Telluride Film Festival in 1979, with 89-year-old Gance watching from a nearby hotel window. Under the auspices of Coppola and Robert A. Harris, a version of this restoration ran at Radio City Music Hall and other venues in the U.S. and around the world in the early 1980s. Brownlow did additional restoration work in 1983.

antonin-artaud-e28093-as-marat1ANTONIN ARTAUD – as Marat

The current restoration reclaims about 30 minutes of footage culled from archives around the world and visually upgrades much of the film. This unique 35mm print uses the original dye-bath techniques, accurately recreating the color tints and tones of the initial release prints and giving a vividness to the image as never before experienced in this country.

San Francisco Silent Film Festival was founded in 1994 to demonstrate the artistry, diversity, and enduring cultural value of silent movies, and to make sure these rare and vulnerable films remain accessible to current and future audiences. Today, SFSFF is an internationally recognized presenter of silent film with live music, renowned for the artistic and technical quality of its presentation, and for its masterful blend of art, scholarship, and showmanship. The organization produces the largest annual silent film festival outside of Italy, which has become a destination for filmmakers, historians, archivists, and other industry professionals and continues to attract thousands of film fans every year. While its annual July festival remains its flagship event, the SFSFF now hosts “live cinema” productions throughout the year. NAPOLEON is its most ambitious undertaking yet.

Founded in 1988, Oakland East Bay Symphony is a critically acclaimed community-focused regional orchestra dedicated to serving the diverse population of the East Bay. It has gained regional and national recognition for its unique convergence of artistic excellence, community service and education programs. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Michael Morgan, OEBS reaches over 60,000 people annually, with more than one-third of its operating budget dedicated to education and outreach programs. On the concert stage, OEBS has become an important positive force in bringing together the talents and resources of diverse artists, performing arts organizations and audiences from throughout the Bay Area.

Composer/conductor Carl Davis (CBE) was born in New York in 1936 and came to the U.K. in 1960. Davis is a true music-maker and all-round musician, as both conductor and composer. He has changed the face of concerts as we know them, making classical music both accessible and varied and is a consummate showman and entertainer. His career has spanned many genres, from silent film performances to his popular themed concerts such as ”An Evening with James Bond” and “Oscar Winners”. He is perhaps most well known for his music for television including the series The World At War, BBC’s Pride & Prejudice, ITV’s Goodnight Mr. Tom, and the award-winning film The French Lieutenant’s Woman. For over 30 years, he’s been a frequent collaborator with Kevin Brownlow, both as the composer of the soundtrack music for such acclaimed documentaries as Hollywood, The Unknown Chaplin, and Cinema Europe, and as the composer/conductor of such “live cinema” events as Ben-Hur, The Wind, Flesh and the Devil, and many others. He considers his Napoleon score one of his proudest achievements.

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“HE WHO GETS SLAPPED” – A conversation with composer and pianist Matti Bye

“CASABLANCA” – The SF Symphony accompanies screening tonight, 7/22

CAMERON CARPENTER – International Superstar Organist plays “Phantom of the Opera” at Davies Symphony Hall

“Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien” – At Davies Symphony Hall, Featuring Damian Smith of SF Ballet, January 12th–14th

MONT ALTO MOTION PICTURE ORCHESTRA – Accompanies Opening Night of the 14th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival

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DAVID STRATHAIRN – Emmy Award winner returns to A.C.T. in “Scorched”

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) introduces a celebrated Middle Eastern voice to the Bay Area with the West Coast premiere of Wajdi Mouawad’s haunting play, SCORCHED. After receiving more than 100 productions in several languages worldwide, the Lebanese-Canadian writer’s new play will be directed at A.C.T. by Artistic Director Carey Perloff in a beautiful translation from the original French by distinguished Canadian author Linda Gaboriau. Leading the cast is David Strathairn. Recipient of both an Emmy and Golden Globe Award, Strathairn garnered an Oscar nomination for his performance as “Edward R. Murrow” in Good Night, and Good Luck.” His familiar film and television roles include “Pierce Patchett” in L.A. Confidential (1997), “Jumpin’ Joe Gastineau” in Limbo (1999), “Robert Wegler” on The Sopranos, “William Flynn” in No God, No Master (2011), and “Dr. Lee Rosen” on Alphas.

david-strathairnDAVID STRATHAIRN

The plot of Scorched concerns a set of twins, Janine and Simon, are given two letters following their mother’s death which contain clues about their family’s mysterious past. They embark on an unforgettable journey to the Middle East in search of the father and brother they never knew they had. Scorched weaves its riveting mystery into a captivating tapestry, inviting us to slowly unravel an astonishing truth amidst chaos and conflict. Scorched opens Wednesday, February 22nd and plays through Friday, March 16th at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Scorched

david-strathairn-and-babak-taftiDavid Strathairn and Babak Tafti. Photo, Kevin Berne

“Scorched continues our deep relationship with the cutting edge of Canadian theater, and brings the turmoil and tribalism of the Middle East to the forefront for the first time at A.C.T.,” says Perloff. This riveting play has entranced audiences across the globe and was turned into a feature film with the title Incendies, which was nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Perloff adds, “Mouawad is a major new writer whose work is acclaimed internationally but relatively unknown in the United States; A.C.T. is thrilled to introduce him to the Bay Area. Scorched is a Greek tragedy for our time, incredibly imaginative and provocative, and will be brought to life at A.C.T. by a company of remarkable Middle Eastern actors as well as four of our amazing core acting company members and the incomparable David Strathairn, whose deep humanity and self-deprecating wit will form the lens through which we witness this moving and surprising story.”

Strathairn plays bumbling notary public “Alphonse Lebel”, who acts as a guide to the two twins as they try to unearth the truth about their family. The Emmy Award winner last appeared on the A.C.T. stage as “Prospero” in The Tempest, which was the inaugural production at the American Conservatory Theater after it re-opened in 1996 following the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Strathairn has a long-standing artistic relationship with Perloff, having appeared in numerous Classic Stage Company productions in New York City when she was leading the institution. A.C.T. core acting company member Annie Purcell and Babak Tafti play the twins at the heart of the story, tracing the mystery of their mother, played at various ages by Marjan Neshat and Jacqueline Antaramian. They are joined by Apollo Dukakis and members of A.C.T.’s core acting company Manoel Felciano, Nick Gabriel, and Omozé Idehenre.

david-straithairn-carey-perloff-and-anthony-fuscoDavid Straithairn, Carey Perloff and Anthony Fusco – “Pursuing Pinter”

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LORENZO PISONI – A.C.T. extends “Humor Abuse”

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NATHAN GUNN – Baritone to be honored by San Francisco Opera Guild, March 23rd

San Francisco Opera Guild hosts An Evening of Enchantment, Friday, March 23rd at The Fairmont, San Francisco. The black-tie gala will honor internationally renowned baritone Nathan Gunn, who will be performing the role of “Papageno” in San Francisco Opera’s upcoming new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The event’s Honorary Chairman, Nathan Gunn, is acclaimed not only for his operatic roles, but also for his brilliant work in musical theater and as a distinguished concert performer. All proceeds support the award-winning education and community outreach programs of San Francisco Opera Guild that reach more than 55,000 young people in 200 schools throughout Northern California every year.

nathan-gunnNATHAN GUNN

The celebratory evening will commence at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction in the Crown Room. At 8:00 p.m., guests will proceed to the elegant Gold Room for a lavish dinner, brief live auction, and special performance by Nathan Gunn. At 10 p.m., guests will celebrate with a toast to San Francisco Opera’s Summer season and dancing to Bill Hopkins Rock’n Orchestra. In addition, guests at the Patron Level and above will be invited to attend an exclusive VIP reception with Nathan Gunn in the magnificent Fairmont Penthouse Suite that evening. Click here for more information: GALA

The event Honorary Committee comprises of major supporters and patrons, including Jean-Pierre L. Conte; General Director of San Francisco Opera, David Gockley; Leslie and George Hume; Cathy and Angus MacNaughton; Teresa and Mark Medearis; Diane Rubin and Honorary Chairman Nathan Gunn. Event Co-Chairs are Shannon Cronan and Jane S. Mudge.

the-barber-of-sevilleTHE BARBER OF SEVILLE – Nathan Gunn as “Figaro”, Photo by Terrance McCarthy

About Nathan Gunn

Nathan Gunn made his San Francisco Opera debut as Figaro in the 2003 production of The Barber of Seville, a role that he reprised in 2006. He subsequently returned to the Company in the title role of Billy Budd and as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. This summer he appears as his appearance as Papageno The Magic Flute and Yeshua in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s http://sfopera.com/Season-Tickets/2012-2013-Season/The-Gospel-of-Mary-Magdalene.aspx in 2013. In January 2010 Nathan sang a spectacular rendition of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Herbst Theatre accompanied by his wife Julie.

Nathan has appeared at major opera houses and festivals around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. His many roles include the title role of Hamlet; the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucetia, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea. A frequent interpreter of new works, Gunn recently created the role of Paul in the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia at the Seattle Opera. He also created the roles of Alec Harvey in André Previn’s Brief Encounter at the Houston Grand Opera, Father Delura in Peter Eötvös’ Love and Other Demons at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, and Clyde Griffiths in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera. Also a distinguished concert performer, Gunn has appeared the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Münchner Rundfunkorchster, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Gunn’s most recent solo album, Just Before Sunrise, was released on Sony/BMG Masterworks.

julie-and-nathan-gunn-e28093-in-recital-schuberts-die-schone-mullerinJULIE and NATHAN GUNN – In Recital, Schubert’s “Die Schöne Müllerin”

Other recordings include the title role in Billy Budd with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra (Virgin Classics), which recently won the 2010 Grammy Award. He sings the role of “Joe” in the first complete recording of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro; Peter Grimes with Sir Colin Davis and London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live!) and nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award; Il Barbiere di Siviglia (SONY Classics); Kullervo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc); and American Anthem (EMI). He also starred as Buzz Aldrin in Man on the Moon, an opera written specifically for television and broadcast on the BBC in the UK. The program was awarded the Golden Rose Award for Opera at the Montreux Festival in Lucerne. Gunn recently returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Così fan tutte and The Magic Flute and made his debuts at the Theater an der Wien in The Rape of Lucretia, the Teatro Real in Madrid as the Count, and the Cincinnati Opera in the title role of Eugene Onegin.

The Summer 2012 Season at San Francisco Opera will feature three productions never before seen in San Francisco, opening on Friday, June 8th with the long-awaited Bay Area premiere of Nixon In China by Bay Area composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman. The season continues with the San Francisco debut of a co-production of Verdi’s Atilla, which premiered at La Scala in Summer 2011 and is conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti. The Summer Season concludes with the premiere of a new one-of-a-kind production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, sung in English and created by renowned Japanese-American visual artist Jun Kaneko and directed by Harry Silverstein. San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2012 Season runs June 8th through July 8th at the War Memorial Opera House.

the-magic-fluteTHE MAGIC FLUTE – Nathan Gunn as “Papageno”

About San Francisco Opera Guild
Founded in 1939 to support arts education and San Francisco Opera,

San Francisco Opera Guild

has acted on its belief that the life lessons drawn from creative expression are the foundation of confidence and integrity. Celebrating 70 years of offering award winning K-12 education programs and engaging community outreach programs, its mission is to give voice to potential, extending the impact of opera and bringing it center stage into the life of the community. Each year, through San Francisco Opera Guild’s fundraising and education fund, more than 55,000 students in 200 schools throughout Northern California discover the power of arts education to help them find their voice.

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Oakland East Bay Symphony to “Heros and Giants”

HEROS AND GIANTS Program Features WIlliam Harvey, Principal Trumpet

william-harvey
Focusing on works by two of the brightest figures in a generation of European musicians whose careers were prematurely terminated by the rise of the Nazi regime, and Music Director Michael Morgan will present Heroes and Giants
at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on February 24th at 8:00 pm. Erwin Schulhoff and Mieczyslaw Weinberg created dynamic, unique works in climates of despair. Schulhoff was one of the first European classical composers to be inspired by jazz before his premature death in a concentration camp, and Weinberg survived years of imprisonment under Stalin to create one of the finest trumpet concertos in the musical repertoire. Oakland East Bay Symphony’s own William Harvey will help bring Weinberg’s trumpet concerto to life by serving as the featured soloist on this inspiring work. A third piece, Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, will complete a musical evening of challenging, sublime music. An informative pre-concert talk by John Kendall Bailey will begin at 7:00 pm.

William Harvey has been Principal Trumpet of the Oakland East Bay Symphony since 2001. An active freelance performer, Mr. Harvey is also Principal Trumpet of Opera San José and is affiliated with the California Symphony, Lamplighters Musical Theatre, Festival Opera, and American Bach Soloists. Previous experience includes positions with Western Opera Theater, Modesto Symphony, Sarasota Opera, and the Epic Brass Quintet. From 1991 to 1994 he was Sub-principal Trumpet of the Cape Town Symphony in South Africa. An East Bay native and Oakland resident, Mr. Harvey is a graduate of Boston University where he studied with Roger Voisin and members of the Empire Brass, attended San Francisco State University where he studied with Donald Reinberg, and is a graduate of Berkeley High School where he was a member of that school’s award-winning Jazz Ensemble. Other private instructors include Arnold Jacobs, Laurie McGaw and Edward Haug. He has participated in the Aspen, Chautauqua and Spoleto Festivals as well as the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The Program

ERWIN SCHULHOFF
Suite for Chamber Orchestra (1920) – Czech composer and pianist Erwin Schulhoff died in the Wülzburg concentration camp. He was one of the first classical composers in Europe to be inspired by jazz.

MIECZYSLAW WEINBERGConcerto for Trumpet, Op. 94 (1967) – Weinberg lost most of his family in the Holocaust but survived the torments of two brutal dictatorships. He fled the German occupation of Poland in 1939, only to fall victim to Stalin’s post-war campaign against the Jews. He was released after years of imprisonment, and later created one of the finest trumpet concertos ever written. OEBS Principal Trumpet William Harvey is the featured soloist in this inspiring work.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN – Symphony No. 3 – Now known as the “Eroica”, was originally written in honor of Napoleon and titled “Bonaparte”. However, when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in 1804, Beethoven was enraged and changed the name of his work. The “Eroica” is known as one of Beethoven’s most challenging masterpieces – long, technically demanding and sublime.

ABOUT OEBS

Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Michael Morgan
, Oakland East Bay Symphony activities reach over 75,000 people annually, with more than one-third of the operating budget dedicated to education and outreach programs. These programs include several acclaimed education programs under the umbrella of the MUSE (Music for Excellence) Program: In-School Mentor and Instrumental Instruction, Young People’s Concerts, Ensembles in the Schools, Young Artist Competition, Free Ticket Distribution and regular school visits by Michael Morgan and other musicians. These programs serve over 21,000 young people each year.

OEBS has fostered collaborations with local arts organizations from children’s choruses to jazz ensembles to dance and opera. The Symphony showcases new American works in performance and encourages young artists. In its efforts to support new music, OEBS formed a multi-year partnership with The James Irvine Foundation in 1998 to initiate various commissioning projects including the newly established New Visions/New Vistas initiative. In June of 2010, OEBS forged a closer partnership with Oakland Youth Orchestra and Oakland Symphony Chorus in a merger that resulted in the formation of East Bay Performing Arts.

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Name Project Quilt Returns to SF


SAN FRANCISCO’S CASTRO DISTRICT HOSTS LARGEST SHOWING OF AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT IN 25 YEARS

images

To occur the week of Valentine’s Day, free exhibition will honor those loved and lost over the past three decades

San Francisco, CA – Courtesy of Under One Roof (www.underoneroof.org), the NAMES Project Foundation (www.aidsquilt.org), the AIDS Emergency Fund (www.aef-sf.org), and San Francisco businessman Petyr Kane, sections of the renowned AIDS Memorial Quilt will be shown at various locations in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood the week of February 12 – 20, 2012.

Timed in concert with Valentine’s Day when many reflect on those they’ve loved, the exhibition is the largest San Francisco showing of the Quilt since its original home on Market Street closed in 1999. Sections of the Quilt will be shown at five locations throughout the week: the primary exhibition will take place the former Tower Records store at 2278 Market Street; other locations include the Under One Roof gift shop at 518A Castro Street, Catch restaurant at 2362 Market Street (where the Quilt and Under One Roof were initially housed), Bank of America at 501 Castro Street and BODY clothing store at 450 Castro Street.

The 2278 Market Street exhibit will feature 35 12’ x 12’ ‘Blocks’, or completed quilts, each comprised of eight 6’ x 3’ memorial panels – each panel created especially for one individual stricken by the AIDS crisis. The additional Quilt exhibits will house one 12’ x 12’ Block each.

The main Market Street exhibit will be open to the public free of charge from 12:00 noon – 8:00pm from Sunday, February 12th through Monday, February 20th.  At 12:00 noon on the 12th, a traditional unfolding ceremony will be held, during which a traditional ‘reading of the names’ of those memorialized will take place.

“While the AIDS and HIV community has made tremendous progress across the last three decades in fighting this devastating disease, our battle is far from over and there is still much work to be done,” said Beth Feingold, executive director of Under One Roof. “We wanted to do something big that would draw attention back to this critical issue, and combat what we’re seeing as a decreasing concern about getting infected. We’re so grateful to all involved for their hard work in getting this event off the ground, and hope the Quilt will remind the community of the thousands of friends and loved ones we’ve lost through the years. They are still, and will continue to be, dearly missed.”

AEF executive director and NAMES Project co-founder Mike Smith says, “In a war against a disease that has no cure, The AIDS Memorial Quilt has evolved as our most potent tool in the effort to educate against the lethal threat of AIDS. By revealing the humanity behind the statistics, The AIDS Memorial Quilt helps teach compassion, triumphs over taboo, stigma and phobia; and inspires individuals to take direct responsibility for their own well-being and that of their family, friends and community.”

The following sponsors are credited for their support of the Quilt exhibition:

· Bank of America

· The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD)

· Petyr Kane, owner of BODY and Citizen clothing shops

· The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC)

· Catch restaurant

Other contributors include Clubcard and the Jeffrey family, the provider of the space for the exhibition. Any donations collected at the exhibition will be distributed among local AIDS and HIV service organizations.

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Valentines Day Tribute at City Hall


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TONY BENNETT – A Valentine’s Day Tribute at City Hall


Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced plans for a Citywide civic celebration to honor the acclaimed, award winning singer Tony Bennett whose signature song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was recorded 50 years ago. The free public tribute with Tony Bennett will take place on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14, 2012, at noon in the City Hall Rotunda.

“Thanks to Tony Bennett, people have been experiencing the magic of San Francisco for 50 years no matter where they are in the world,” said Mayor Lee. “The song reminds us of why we love our City so much and when we are away, it calls us home. Mr. Bennett’s signature voice is celebrated around the world, and when he comes back to San Francisco, our hearts will surely be lifted.”

“Performing ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel was one of the most fortunate moments of my career, and from that moment on I have been commissioned to sing this beautiful song about one of America’s greatest cities throughout the world,” said Tony Bennett, who celebrated his 85th birthday last year and released a #1 Grammy nominated CD,

“It is a thrill and an honor 50 years later to be recognized by the citizens of San Francisco.”

Mayor Lee and others including Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., and San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz will honor Tony Bennett at the ceremony. The Ruth Asawa School of the Arts Choir and Band, the San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Beach Blanket Babylon will perform their own versions of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and pay tribute to Tony Bennett’s musical legacy. The ceremony will conclude with a sing along of the famed San Francisco tune.

Every radio station that broadcasts in the City has been asked to play “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at or near noon. KOIT 96.5FM will preempt the noon news and will play “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at exactly noon because of their long-standing relationship with Tony Bennett and his music. At noon, the song will also be played over the public address system in Union Square and at Hallidie Plaza, courtesy of the Union Square Business Improvement District. San Franciscans are encouraged to stop what they are doing and sing along to “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” from office building, parks, sidewalks or where ever they are in the City.

SFMTA will outfit historic cable cars to celebrate Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” which will run all day. In the evening, City Hall will be illuminated in red for the celebration of Tony Bennett on Valentine’s Day.

Tony Bennett first sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in December of 1961, and he returns there on the evening of Valentine’s Day to sing at a sold-out benefit dinner and concert to raise money for heart research at UCSF. He recorded the song in 1962.

San Francisco Travel has also launched an international “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” video contest for people around the world to submit their own video versions of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” to the San Francisco Travel YouTube page.  The winner of the contest receives a deluxe vacation for two including airfare to San Francisco, stay at the Fairmont Hotel and dinner on Valentine’s Day for the Tony Bennett UCSF concert. Click here for more information: “http://www.sanfrancisco.travel/138681304.html?cmp=fb02082012_TonyBUpClose“>

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NICOLA LUISOTTI – Music Director of San Francisco Opera signs with Teatro di San Carlo


sean-martinfield-18-august-2011

Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Nicola Luisotti has been appointed Music Director of Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy, effective immediately. The news was announced over the weekend by General Director Rosanna Purchia and the Board of Directors of the Teatro di San Carlo Foundation following a meeting where the unanimous decision was taken. Maestro Luisotti succeeds former Principal Conductor Maurizio Benini and Music Director Jeffrey Tate. Born and raised in Tuscany, the 50-year old Luisotti is currently Music Director of San Francisco Opera and Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic.

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NICOLA LUISOTTI. Photo, Terrence McCarthy

The oldest theater in Europe and one of Italy’s most prestigious opera houses, Teatro di San Carlo is renowned not only for its beauty but for its legendary acoustics. Founded in 1737, many of opera’s most famous composers spent significant time at the theatre, including Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi. In 2010, the theater was re-opened after an important period of restoration where the magnificent five-level horseshoe of boxes which are upholstered in red and decorated in gold leaf, frescoed ceiling and beautifully painted stage curtain were renewed to their original glory.

Full details of the appointment will be announced at an official ceremony and press conference on March 7th when Maestro Luisotti will be at San Carlo to begin rehearsals for Verdi’s I Masnadieri, in a production directed by Gabriele Lavia.

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GIACOMO PUCCINI, Composer – NICOLA LUISOTTI, Conductor

“I have spent a good deal of time abroad in the last ten years of my career. My heart fills with joy at the thought of spending so much more time in my home country with such a prestigious appointment,” said Maestro Luisotti speaking from Philadelphia where he is leading concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “And the joy is even greater when I think of how deeply this Theatre was influenced, in recent years, by the presence of a man such as Riccardo Muti, with whom I had the honor of working at La Scala.”

General Director Rosanna Purchia commented, “Nicola is young and enthusiastic and has had a bright career that took him to the most important theatres in the world, from Covent Garden to the Met, from La Scala to our San Carlo. In the United States he is recognized as one of the best interpreters of Italian opera. With his appointment, we want the San Carlo to aim higher and higher.”

Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris, the foundation president, expressed his satisfaction: “We chose Luisotti because he is a high profile conductor, young, Italian…and this is a source of great pride for us. We are sure he will contribute to the success of this great theatre both in Italy and the rest of the world.”

“We at San Francisco Opera are thrilled that Nicola Luisotti has been appointed music director of the San Carlo, one of the world’s great lyric theaters,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “This announcement is a tribute to his musical talent and leadership.” Nicola Luisotti’s position as San Francisco Opera’s music director began in September 2009 and continues through the 2015-16 season.

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LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST
Roberto Frontali, Deborah Voigt, and Salvatore Licitra
Photo, Cory Weaver

Since his international debut in 2002, Conductor Luisotti has garnered enthusiastic praise from both audiences and critics throughout the world, especially for his work in Puccini’s Tosca and La Bohème and the rarely performed La fanciulla del West at both San Francisco Opera and the Met. In conjunction with these 100th Anniversary performances Luisotti was awarded the Premio Puccini Award.

Luisotti’s third season at San Francisco Opera’s Music Director of San Francisco Opera continues in June with a new Gabriele Lavia production of Attila, co-produced with Teatro alla Scala. In addition to I Masnadieri and concerts with the Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo in late March, Maestro Luisotti’s operatic engagements this season include a return visit to La Scala for Turandot in April. Luisotti will also make appearances with six great orchestras this season including his own San Francisco Opera Orchestra presented by Cal Performances, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Madrid’s Orquesta Nacional de España and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Click here for more information on the 2012/13 Season at: San Francisco Opera

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SF OPERA – Announces audited financial results for Fiscal Year 2010/11

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera Association President George Hume today announced the findings of the audited financial results for the Company’s 2010–11 Season (FY 11): a deficit of $1,801,417 on an operating budget of $71,094,620. The recently completed 2010–11 season featured ten operas at the War Memorial Opera House, including the Company’s new production of Wagner’s Ring tetralogy, in addition to multiple concerts, recitals, cinema broadcasts and various community engagement activities before an audience of approximately 350,000 individuals. Once again, the Company’s repertory season was broadcast locally in the Bay Area on Classical 89.9/90.3 KDFC, nationally on the WMFT Radio Network, and internationally on select radio outlets, reaching a combined audience of 1.8 million listeners.

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AÏDA – Triumphal March

Operating within a very tough and turbulent economy, San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley worked in close cooperation with the Company’s Board of Directors and executive administration to minimize the financial exposure as much as possible while maintaining the Company’s international artistic standards.  Total operating revenue for FY 11 grew from $27,113,297 to $35,947,397, with income from ticket sales increasing 32% to $24,633,817. Contributions to the annual fund were $33,345,806 from approximately 11,350 donors. Despite the Company’s successful ticket sales campaign and extraordinary fund raising efforts, overall income was offset by rising expenses of 9.69% or $5,845,399.

“While the board of directors is always concerned to see the Opera post a deficit, we remain grateful to David Gockley for his complete transparency about the financial challenges facing the Company,” said George Hume.  “David has continued to keep the board fully apprised of the situation, including when we approved the 2010–11 season budget.  As in our 2009–10 season, David warned us that the worst effects of the ‘Great Recession’ would be felt by the Company for several years, and projected the Opera would close 2011 with a budget deficit—even with the blockbuster ticket sales and contributions he expected (and achieved) with Wagner’s Ring.”

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DAS RHEINGOLD

“San Francisco Opera faces serious long-term challenges to its business model, as many classical music organizations do nationwide,” commented Hume.  “The strategic plan David and his team put in motion two years ago to address our structural deficit continues to have the board’s full support.  We are especially pleased with how much the endowment has grown during David’s tenure ($71,428,980/January 01, 2006 to $138,381,021/July 31, 2011), and will continue to make that a priority.  At the end of the day, the board firmly believes that having an internationally renowned opera company in San Francisco is part of what makes the Bay Area one of the most special places in the world.  With the ongoing support of our generous patrons and donors, I know we can ensure this Company’s future.”

“Reporting a deficit is never pleasant, but the fact is that San Francisco Opera’s ‘structural imbalance’ persists, even with robust attendance and contributions,” stated David Gockley.  “Steps will continue to be taken between 2013–2016 to reduce expenses, increase annual contributions and augment the endowment.  Success in achieving a sustainable balance will continue to require the partnership of all sectors of the organization.”

The 2010–11 season featured Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida with two international casts including the debuts of sopranos Micaela Carosi and Michele Capalbo; a new production of Jules Massenet’s Werther with Ramón Vargas and Alice Coote; the Company debuts of Danielle de Niese and Ellie Dehn in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Svetla Vassileva and Daniela Dessí in the Hal Prince production; the Company premiere of Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac featuring Plácido Domingo and Ainhoa Arteta in the Petrika Ionesco Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris) production; and a new co-production with Finnish National Opera of Leoš Janáček’s The Makropulos Case starring Karita Mattila.  The Fall Season featured Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti, Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi, and guest conductors Emmanuel Villaume, Julian Kovatchev, Patrick Fournillier, and Jiři Bĕlohlávek on the podium, with San Francisco Opera Chorus Director Ian Robertson.

madama-butterfly
MADAMA BUTTERFLY

In the summer of 2011, San Francisco Opera presented Francesca Zambello’s new production of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) before an international audience. Deutsche Oper Berlin Music Director Donald Runnicles was on the podium leading a world renowned cast of artists including Nina Stemme, Mark Delavan, Anja Kampe, Jay Hunter Morris, Ian Storey, Stefan Margita, and David Cangelosi.

The FY 11 Season included two popular free community events: the Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark simulcast performance of Aida from the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Ballpark, before a record audience of 32,000, and the Company’s beloved Opera in the Park concert presented at Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow featuring the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and guest artists of the season.

Additional recitals and concerts were offered during the year featuring the San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellows.

San Francisco Opera continued its acclaimed Grand Opera Cinema Series, releasing four new titles in FY 11 to regional and international movie theaters and performing arts venues: Puccini’s La Bohème and Tosca, and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and The Elixir of Love, featuring an array of international opera stars including Angela Gheorghiu, Adrianne Pieczonka, Natalie Dessay and Ramón Vargas.  In August 2010, the Company also launched a partnership with KQED Public Television 9, Northern California’s preeminent public broadcast station, to air grand operas recorded live in high definition at the historic War Memorial Opera House. The KQED TV series launched in FY 11 with broadcasts of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s La Rondine and Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Dalilah.

San Francisco Opera’s commitment to providing music education and enrichment opportunities for students, teachers, young audiences and adults continued in the 2010–11 Season with a myriad of school and family programs and online resources.  San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild annually bring opera and music education programs to over 126,000 students and individuals throughout Northern California. These programs include San Francisco Opera’s groundbreaking Opera ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) programs, which partners with educators in grades K–12 to connect professional artistic and creative elements of opera with classroom curricula, and San Francisco Opera Guild’s award-winning opera arts in-school programs reaching 250 schools throughout Northern California.  In addition to these in-school programs, San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild provide countless education opportunities for all ages, including workshops for adults, pre-opera talks, preview lectures, insight panels, professional development for educators, family opera movie screenings, opera arts training camps, student dress rehearsals and opera house and backstage tours.

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NATALIE DESSAY – as “Lucia di Lammermoor”

The FY 11 audit was conducted by Armanino McKenna and unanimously approved by the San Francisco Opera Executive Committee on January 19, 2012. Audited financial results are posted in the “Finances and Governance” section of the Opera’s website.

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MASTERS OF VENICE – Exhibition closes at the de Young Museum, 2/12

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

For over three months the de Young has been home to the globally exclusive exhibition, Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power. It is a most rare and powerful gathering of art from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The exhibit closes on Sunday, February 12th. Click here to order tickets on-line: Masters of Venice

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BORDONE. Allegory of Mars, Venus and Cupid. ca. 1560

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VERONESE. Judith with the Head of Holofernes (ca. 1580)

There are fifty paintings in the exhibit, including works by Titian, Giorgione, Veronese, Mantegna, and Tintoretto. The collection represents the height of Venetian Renassaince painting. Loaned by the Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, these works are among the museum’s most celebrated holdings, collections built over centuries by the Habsburg royal family.

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MANTEGNA. Detail, Saint Sebastian (1457–59)

Masters of Venice is the first exhibition of Italian art at FAMSF since the presentation of Treasures from the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in 1999–2000. The Museums’ history of showcasing masterworks from the Italian Renaissance dates back to 1938, when the Legion of Honor presented Venetian Paintings from the 15th Century Through the 18th Century, America’s first major exhibition of Venetian Renaissance paintings.

One of the singular movements in the evolution of Western Art, the Venetian Renaissance forged an artistic vocabulary that took full advantage of the poetic potential of rich atmospheric effects, lustrous color and the sensuous beauty observed in nature. Venetian painters of the cinquecento transcended the spatial, textural and respresentational realism of their predecessors to create works unsurpassed in their emotional and sensual depictions, velvety surfaces and glorious treatment of light.

Artists in this exhibition such as Giorgione, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto were legends in their own time and their paintings were highly prized by discerning collectors across Europe. Works by painters such as Palma Vecchio, Bordone and Bassano demonstrate the full range of Venetian accomplishment in the Renaissance era.

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TITIAN. Lucretia and Her Husband (ca. 1515)

The Gemädegalerie (Picture Gallery) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna holds one of the world’s most distinguished collections of Old Master paintings. Collected by the emperors and archdukes of the royal house of Habsburg, this collection is one of the world’s four princely collections that rival those in Paris (the Louvre), Saint Petersburg (the Hermitage) and Madrid (the Prado). The Kunsthistorisches Museum was conceived by Emperor Franz Joseph I to house the impressive art accumulated over the many centuries of Habsburg rule and opened on October 17, 1891.  Its collections include paintings, decorative arts, armor, Greco-Roman and Egyptian antiquities, coins and musical instruments.  Located on Vienna’s grand boulevard the Ringstrasse, near the Museum of Natural History, City Hall, Parliament, the former Imperial Theater and the Opera House, the Kunsthistoriches Museum’s architecture and interior decoration are as magnificent as its collections.

masters-of-venice-e28093-renaissance-painters-of-passion-and-power
MASTERS OF VENICE – Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power

The exhibition catalogue for Masters of Venice, authored by director of the Germäldegalerie of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna Sylvia Ferino-Pagden and curator in change of European art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Lynn Federle Orr, features the achievements of Venetian painting through the world-renowned holdings of the Germäldegalerie of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and others. Mantegna, Titian, and Giorgione are among the exemplary artists highlighted. Hardcover, 128 pages. Click on the photo to order on-line.

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